UCLouvain Economics Seminar - Abhijeet Singh, Stockholm School of Economics

March 23, 2023

12:45 - 14:00


Doyen 22, Place des doyens 1

Abhijeet Singh

(Stockholm School of Economics)

will give a presentation on

The incidence of affirmative action: Evidence from quotas in private schools in India

Abstract: We study the effects and incidence of one of the world’s largest affirmative action programs in schooling: a 25% quota in all Indian private schools for disadvantaged students. Receiving a quota seat through lotteries increases private school attendance by 25 percentage points. Quota students also attend more expensive and preferred schools, on average. However, because applicants are disproportionately drawn from more-educated and better-off households within eligible castes, _67% of per-child expenditure is inframarginal for school choice. We investigate the causes of this regressive selection. Rich survey data on preferences show that low demand for private schools does not rationalize undersubscription. A follow-up randomized intervention that eased information constraints and application complexity increased application rates by 43% but did not reduce regressive selection (due to further unaddressed frictions). Our results highlight the distinction between undersubscription and regressive selection for policy design, and the importance of the joint incidence of multiple constraints in determining program take-up.

(joint with Mauricio Romero)

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